Paramount Group, the South African-based global defence and aerospace business formed in 1994 with the goal of targeting African and other governments with their security and defence needs, announced the creation of Paramount South Africa to partner with local industry.
Speaking at the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition currently underway at AFB Waterkloof in Centurion, Paramount Group Executive Director, Eric Ichikowitz, noted that the group had built a global reputation and had offices in several African countries, the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia and the Americas.
Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of the Paramount Group, says that as a proudly South African organisation, they had taken the best South Africa has to offer and taken it to the world. However, the Paramount Group has never seen it’s home base, South Africa, as a target market.
“Next year Paramount celebrates its 25th anniversary, Ivor Ichikowitz proudly stated, “We never had the South African market as our primary objective. We always believed we wanted to concentrate on building an export business as that was how we were going to be sustainable.”
“We believe that we have learnt enough in the rest of the world to be able to bring that skill and that experience back home,” he continued, “Paramount South Africa’s objective is to partner with the rest of the industry.”
In announcing the establishment of Paramount South Africa, Eric Ichikowitz said that “Paramount South Africa is a transformed, Black-owned enterprise that will support and service future capability requirements of the South African defence, police, border and peacekeeping forces.”
The Ichikowitz brothers emphasised that Paramount South Africa will be a significant, sustainable Black-owned industrial enterprise that will support the growth of transformation in the South African defence industry.
Those involved in the new company include ex-ANC Treasurer and Paramount Group Trust chairperson Dr Mathew Phosa who will be the Chairman, Alison Crooks (Paramount Group Financial Director) and Executive Chairman of the Paramount Group, Ivor Ichikowitz.
Phosa says that he wants Paramount South Africa to be a purely Black-owned company. As the aerospace defence manufacturing industry was predominately white, “we need Black players to come in, not as disruptors, but as partners.”
Paramount South Africa is not going to be opposition to other organisations, he explained, “but will cooperate with everyone.”
The new company had already started interacting with industry, with the first Letter of Intent being signed with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR